From December 13- 14, 2015, National Food Campaign Coordinators of the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa (FECCIWA) assembled in Lome, Togo, to hold its Annual Strategy Planning Meeting ahead of the Year 2016. The two day face to face meeting helped coordinators to share ideas, experiences and reported on their activities from the national level campaigns. They planned for 2016, and formed an operational framework of action using goals and objectives of the regional campaign. The meeting stimulated progress, did evaluation and shared lesson learnt adding impetus to the campaign framework of action for 2015 – 2018 phase.
The meeting was graced with the presence of the Rev. KADERA Bamerbanona, Vice President of the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa. Also, the Rev. DJAKOUTI Mitre, President of the Christian Council of Togo and the Rev. Dr. Tolbert Thomas Jallah, Jr. Secretary – General of the Fellowship of Christian Council made statements during the opening session of the meeting.
In his opening address, Rev. Mitre welcomed the national food campaign coordinators and admonished them to reflect on the social responsibilities of the church in formulating concrete action plans to be used by churches in the sub – region towards achieving comprehensive steps in defeating hunger and poverty. He concluded by adding that “hunger is a wound caused by extreme poverty inflicted on the people in the sub – region by poor policy choice of political leaders. He challenged the food campaign coordinators to persistently influence policy makers and set up plans to ensure that hunger is fought and defeated in West Africa sub – region.
Also speaking during the start of the meeting, the Rev. Dr. Jallah further lamented “that poverty and hunger together dehumanize people in order that they believed that the problems that they face need to be solved by somebody else, - that’s not true”. He exerted that hunger has become a lion among the people in West Africa. He called on the coordinators to campaign to change the situation. He said that it is wronged for the church to keep silent and sees its members going to bed hungry, children in congregations after been baptized died before their first birth anniversaries and the gap between the poor and rich is widen; this is injustice.
The meeting was professionally facilitated by Mrs. Angeline Munzara, Associate Director of Food and Livelihoods, World Vision International (WVI), based in South Africa. Highlighted for discussions during the meeting were theological reflection on poverty and hunger in West Africa, food justice, distribution and consumption patterns in West-Africa. In the outcome document, the meeting outlined the church’s social justice responsibilities in solidarity with the poor in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as an effort to make West Africa a safer region on the African Continent.